Monday, April 27, 2009

Going Gray -- win a book!

My hair is now officially natural. I stopped coloring it about six months ago (see some photos here of my "transition") and now my short hair is naturally tri-colored: about 60 percent gray (let's call it silver), with a determined back layer of brown, and a couple of little pops of almost-white. I had never seen my natural hair color since I started coloring it more than 15 years ago. I had no idea what might be happening at the root of things. I like the change.

In between trips to the mirror, I read Going Gray: What I Learned about Beauty, Sex, Work, Motherhood, Authenticity, and Everything Else That Really Matters by Anne Kreamer. Kreamer decided to stop coloring her hair at age 49, after coloring it since age 25. The book is a personal exploration of her journey to gray, but even more interesting, a social, historical, and psychological commentary on how hair color, age, and self-image mesh -- or don't.

In one of the most fascinating chapters, "Dating -- My Three-City Road Test," Kreamer posts an online dating profile to test whether men seeking date matches respond differently to gray hair. She posts identical photos on identical profiles in three different cities, except that she posts first as a brunette for a few weeks, removes the profile, and then a few months later, posts a gray-haired photo. I would love to tell you how that came out, but it's such a marvelous part of the book (including the reactions of her husband as she trolled for dates!) that I'm going to encourage you to read it for yourself.

What about you? Did you meet someone after you had settled into your silver hair when romance had eluded you as a blonde? Did responses to your online dating profile go up or down after you posted a new, natural-color photo? Did you go gray and then return, screaming, to your colorist to camouflage your tresses? Did you discover that your face and skin match better now that you're no longer ebony-haired?

Tell me your story and win a book! When Hachette Book Group, the publisher of Going Gray, learned that I would be blogging about this book, they offered me five (5!) copies to give away in a contest! Interested? Here's what you do:

Email me your 2-3 paragraph story about how deciding to go gray changed your dating life, self-image, and/or sex life -- for better or worse. Include your real name, age, and address, plus a first name of your choice which will be used to identify you if I publish your story or an excerpt on my blog. Yep, you have to agree to go public using your code name and age. No other ID will be published unless you request it (if you're a writer, performer, or other person in the public eye and you want your story told with your name).

Please put "Going Gray contest" in the subject line of your email. If your story is among the first five that I love (I reserve the right to be totally subjective), you'll receive a free copy of Going Gray directly from the publisher. What a deal!

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-- Joan